Fantasy Tidbits

First, ACFW announced the finalists of their Genesis contest. This competition is unique because it is for novelists. The opening fifteen pages, entered in specific categories, are judged by three writers familiar with the genre. Here are the 2008 finalists in the speculative fiction category:

    Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Allegory: (there are six finalists because there was a tie for the 5th finalist spot)
    Lynda K. Arndt
    Valerie Comer
    John W. Otte
    Jim Rubart
    Chawna Schroeder
    Stuart Stockton

Note, these are alphabetically listed, not in order of finish. Congratulations to all six! The winners will be announced at the ACFW conference in September.

Secondly, I mentioned yesterday that I had extended a grassroots challenge over at Spec Faith for fans of Christian science fiction and fantasy to tell ten friends about three titles of books they enjoyed or even have on their to be read piles. One commenter asked for titles, as a refresher. I just so happened to have a partial list, taken from my own Fantasy Challenge II:

  • By Sharon Hinck
    The Restorer
    The Restorer’s Son
    *The Restorer’s Journey
  • By Wayne Thomas Batson
    The Door Within
    The Rise of the Wyrm Lord
    The Final Storm
    *Isle of Swords
  • By Kathryn Mackel
    Outriders
    Trackers
    *Vanished
  • By George Bryan Polivka
    Legend of the Firefish
    The Hand That Bears the Sword
    *The Battle for Vast Dominion
  • By Donita Paul
    DragonSpell
    DragonQuest
    DragonKnight
    *DragonFire
  • By Karen Handcock
    Light of Eidon
    Shadow Within
    Shadow of Kiriath
    *Return of the Guardian-King
  • By R. K. Mortenson
    Landon Snow and the Auctor’s Riddle
    Landon Snow and the Shadows of Malus Quidam
    Landon Snow and the Island of Arcanum
    Landon Snow and the Volcer Dragon
    *Landon Snow and the Auctor’s Kingdom
  • By Bryan Davis
    Dragons in Our Midst
    The Candlestone
    Circles of Seven
    Tears of a Dragon
  • By Jeffrey Overstreet
    *Auralia’s Colors
  • By Gregory Spenser
    *Guardian of the Veil
  • By Christopher Hooper
    Rise of the Dibor: The White Lion Chronicles
    *The Lion Vrie: Book II of The White Lion Chronicles
  • By Stephen Lawhead
    The Paradise War: Book One in The Song of Albion
    The Silver Hand: Book Two in The Song of Albion Trilogy
    Hood (The King Raven Trilogy, Book 1)
    *Scarlet (The King Raven Trilogy, Book 2)
  • By Jonathan Rogers
    Bark of the Bog Owl
    The Secret of the Swamp King
    *The Way of the Wilderking
  • By Robin Parrish
    Relentless
    *Fearless
  • *Latest release

I’ll update this to add the following:

  • By Andrew Peterson
    On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness
  • By Eric Rheinhold
    Ryann Watters and the King’s Sword

Don’t forget to drop by Spec Faith and leave a comment to let us know you’ve emailed your friends (or actually told them in person) about three of these titles, or any others you know, including science fiction novels I didn’t include. Kathy Tyers, Chris Walley, Randy Ingermanson and John Olson, Austin Boyd come to mind at once.

Then there are any number of authors who have self published or are with a small press or even have decided to go with a POD publisher. One self-published author (though, technically I suppose she would consider herself to be under a small press) who has an incredible website is Candy Abbott. Spend any time there at all, and it’s hard NOT to buy a Gavin Goodfellow.

Talk is cheap. That’s actually the good news when it comes to books, because editors continue to say that “word of mouth” is the number one promotion tool.

Do readers—Christians and non-Christians alike—really want fantasy and science fiction from Christians? We know the truth about the spiritual as well as the physical. We understand the conflict between good and evil, the internal part as well as the external. We ought to care about excellence because of Who we serve. And fantasy continues to be the hottest genre in the general market.

What are we missing if it isn’t the word-of-mouth promotion necessary to bring readers inside the covers of the books and let them fall in love with the characters they find there.

Published in: on April 8, 2008 at 12:09 pm  Comments (6)  
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6 Comments

  1. I’m a Christian, and I write fantasy. If anyone asks me about conflicting interests, my reply usually goes along the lines of ‘the violence, sex, witchcraft, and vulgarity in my books never exceeds the violence, sex, witchcraft, and vulgarity in the Bible’. Anyone who knows anything about the Bible’s contents will not be comforted by this. I think it’s the duty of a writer to write. The books have adult-only content? So does real life; the point of these things are influenced by what you believe, yes, but people can make their own decisions about what to glorify. You don’t need to do it for them. If the author really takes the craft seriously, it shouldn’t be an issue.

    Now, propaganda and social commentary inside a fantasy novel is something that often will land a book with a pile of kindling. Liberal or uber-I’m-telling-a-message-Christian have no distinction in my mind. I have no tolerance for preaching in my books.

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  2. Eliza, if you spend any time here at A Christian Worldview of Fiction, you ‘ll quickly learn that I and those who comment regularly have “no tolerance for preaching” in the books we write or read or want to tell others about.

    I’d love to know more about your own work, if you care to point us to a web site.

    Becky

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  3. Good to hear. 🙂 Yes, I just happened to stumble across the site this afternoon. My writing blog can be found at http://elizaw.wordpress.com

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  4. Well, it’s kind of interesting that Eliza went immediately to preachy fiction in this thread. Because my mind went there, too.

    There are very few CBA fantasies that I do word of mouth for. There are some I think are decently written. But decently written books don’t cause me to talk about them.

    Several authors in the last four years have really made me feel like knocking on doors and telling people they need to buy the books. These authors have made me buy their books as gifts for others. These authors are the kind that make me want to pay more for the hardbacks. Jonathan Stroud, Eoin Colfer, Jonathan Rogers, Shannon Hale, and now, Andrew Peterson. (too bad Andrew’s not in hardback, but that’s another lament.)

    Only two are published in the CBA, but Christianity isn’t what makes me recommend books. Great story-telling, fresh plot, lyrical prose, satisfying characters, and big issues make me recommend books. If authors have four of those five things going, I’m going to be telling others about their books.

    What about the CBA fantasy authors who are writing good books? They are writing good books. I don’t deny that. Very enjoyable books, in many cases. But their books do not have that quality that makes me buy them as gifts. They’re good but in the “I like those books but I can wait for the paperback” kind of way.

    There are two kinds of books on my shelves. When my young friends come over to borrow books they pick up some and I say, “Yeah, that one’s good. You might like that. Take it. Try it.” And then I walk over and pull down another one and say, “You have to try this one. You’ll love this one. It is so fresh and funny (or it’s such a tear-jerker, or whatever).”

    And I guess my point is that I think I disagree with your very last sentence in your post. I naturally tell people about the books I love. I suspect most readers do tell others about books they love. What I think we’re missing is not word of mouth but books to love.

    Of course, I’m speaking only for myself. I don’t love a lot of books. I’m pretty particular in my tastes. So I’m not finding a lot of books to love in the CBA. I’m finding good books. Decent books. But not many books that I love.

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  5. Oh and I see that I read your last sentence wrong. You didn’t way “what we are missing” you said, “What are we missing…?” So I don’t disagree, I am answering the question. =0) I think we’re missing books with characters to fall in love with.

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  6. Several authors in the last four years have really made me feel like knocking on doors and telling people they need to buy the books. That’s all I’m saying. Tell people about those several.

    I have no trouble telling people about books I think they might like, even if they weren’t necessarily ones I loved. Simply because I know others loved them. Not just any old “others” but people I respect. I can get behind those books, too.

    Becky

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